This section of the research consists of the first chapter contents like the background of the study, statements of the problem, objectives of the study, basic research questions, significance of the study, scope and limitations of the study and the organization of the study.
1.1. Background of the study
Today, tourism is widely recognized as the largest industry on earth based on its contribution to global gross domestic product, the number of jobs it generates, and the number of clients it serves. Tourism is one of the top five exports for 83 percent of all countries and the number one source of foreign exchange for 40 percent of countries (UNWTO, 2006). By 1990, there were 450 million annual tourism arrivals globally, and 2006 saw an all-time record of 842 million tourists – an increase of more than 3,000 percent over 1950. The UNWTO forecasts that over the coming 15 years, the number of tourists will rise to 1.5 billion, twice the current total. In 2007, tourism is expected to generate more than $7 trillion in economic activity worldwide, up 5.7 percent. In terms of job creation, travel and tourism employment is expected to reach 231.2 million jobs in 2007, representing 8.3 percent of total employment worldwide, or 1 in every 12 jobs on the planet (UNWTO, 2006). The tourism sector is growing fast and stands as the third foreign exchange earner, following coffee and oilseeds (Mann, 2010). Many factors are contributing to such positive achievement. Ethiopian Air Lines provides international flights and connections to most parts of the world. Ethiopia is reasonably well connected by international flights and Ethiopian Air Lines has one of the best reputations amongst African national airlines (UNWTO, 2006).
As cited by Ministry of Culture and Tourism (2009) UNWTO’s current analysis of
tourist arrivals puts Ethiopia’s average annual growth in international tourist arrivals
at 5.6 percent for the period 1990-2000, and at 15.4 percent during the period 2000-
2008. The average growth rates achieved during the more recent years represent an
encouraging trend indeed. Taking this into account, for instance, Ethiopia’s share of
the tourist flow to the East African Region of seventeen countries in 2007 was 0.7
percent. Despite its numerous historical, cultural, and natural attractions, the country’s
tourist flow shows that the very low stage of development (World Bank, 2007). In the
same way, although the share of the tourism sector for the region’s GDP is increasing
from time to time and it has been played a pivotal role in the creation of employment
opportunities, its contribution is still less as compared to the region’s potential tourist
attraction resources. There are various factors that have been hindering the tourism
development in one or another way. Some of the factors that affect the tourist
satisfaction in SNNPR are; the attractions have not been adequately protected, developed and used as tourist attraction. There is a serious shortage in number and
type of tourist facilities at existing and potential tourist destinations and vicinities;
moreover, the quality of service is unsatisfactory to tourists. In addition
interpretations of tourist attractions are not based on credible facts and knowledge;
they are not consistent; and their presentation is disorganized. Handicrafts, other local
creative products, performing arts and entertainment services, which could have
helped to lengthen the stay and increase the duration of visitors at every destination,
are not offered in sufficient variety, quantity, and quality. The major goal of promotion in the tourism industry is to attract as many tourists as possible. In order to increase the number of visitors, it is essential to meet consumers’ expectation levels (MoCT, 2013).
Tourism competitiveness for a destination is about the ability of the place to optimize its attractiveness for residents and non-residents, to deliver quality, innovative, and attractive (e.g. providing good value for money) tourism services to consumers and to gain market shares on the domestic and global market places, while ensuring that the available resources supporting tourism are used efficiently and in a sustainable way. Tourism is recognized as one of the key sectors of development in all countries and a major source of income, jobs and wealth creation. It also plays a wider role in promoting the image and international perception of a country externally as well as influencing complementary domestic policies. This range of influence and importance creates challenges in measuring competitiveness in tourism. Understanding country competitiveness in tourism is a major consideration for policy makers and a major challenge for professionals in providing evidence to inform decision making.
Various indicators have been developed by different organizations over the years to address particular aspects of competitiveness but there has remained a lack of an overall measurement framework for competitiveness in tourism for the use of governments. The current work by member and partner countries seeks to address this gap and make a positive contribution to the practical measurement of competitiveness.
The influences on competitiveness can change quickly and this dynamic creates further challenges and a need for on-going research and development on indicators. Global economic and tourism trends, including changing market trends and travel behaviors, the role of social media and new sources of demand and growth increase the importance of the topic and the ability of partner countries to compete within the changing global marketplace (Alain Dupeyras, Neil MacCallum 2009)
Visitors have to consider a destination to be attractive and worth the investment of time and money to visit. As such, we can think of destination as cultural appraisals. It is therefore, vital to maintain the difference between the destination in the home environment through good design and management, and therefore to avoid the development of uniform tourism landscapes. The multiple use of destinations means it is possible to classify enterprises according to whether they depend upon tourism only, residents only, or a mix of the two (Cooper et al. 1993).
Cooper et al. (1993) observe that as destinations are an amalgam, there are a number of important implications which are common across all destinations.
Researchers have endeavored to reveal those factors that consumers consider important, and the processes undertaken when choosing a destination amongst a group of like alternatives (Chon 1990, Woodside ; Lysonski 1989, Gunn 1989). Furthermore, studies have begun to investigate satisfaction levels relating to the quality of the destination experience (Moyle ; Croy 009; Yoon ; Uysal 2005; Kozak ; Rimmington 2000; Baker ; Crompton 2000). Such studies aim to better enable destination management organizations to implement strategies aimed at enhancing destination competitiveness.